With poor administration, inadequate funding, insufficient infrastructural amenities, as well as inadequate housing finance identified as problems associated with the implementation of the Nigerian National housing policies in Nigeria , Emileo Castrol considers housing policy in Nigeria as a tool for national development, by examining the importance of housing in the attainment of sustainable development, various housing strategies programmes and policies that have emerged in Nigeria, housing problems in Nigeria, housing as a policy, as well as the national housing policy. With a fresh promise two weeks ago by the government to deliver one million homes yearly, Bnlpulse compares the housing deficits, measurable gaps, the many promises and the demands yet unmet till date…
Housing is a crucial basic need of every human being just as food and clothing. It is very fundamental to the welfare, survival and health of man. Hence, housing is one of the best indicators of a person’s standard of living and his place in the society. The location and type of housing can determine or affect the status of man in the society. Shelter is central to the existence of man, and it involves access to land, and the necessary amenities to make same functional, convenient, aesthetically pleasing, safe and hygienic. Hence, unsanitary, unhygienic, unsafe and inadequate housing can affect the security, physical health and privacy of man. Invariably, the performance of the housing sector is one of the yardsticks by which the health of a nation is measured.
Nigeria, presently ranking as the 31st-largest economy in the world by GDP (397,472 million US$). The top 10 countries by GDP (nominal) are: World, United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, Brazil, and Canada. The Human Development Index (HDI) shows in 2012 that Nigeria is ranked 156 with the value of 0.459 among 187 countries. As of 2015, Nigeria’s HDI is ranked 152nd at 0.514. The comparative value for Sub-Saharan Africa is 0.475, 0.910 for the US, and 0.694 for the world average.
Nigeria’s economic freedom score is 57.3, making its economy the 111th freest in the 2019 Index. Nigeria is ranked 14th among 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is above the regional average but below the world average.
The housing and construction sector, if properly administered, has the capacity to produce a tremendous multiplier effect on the broader economy of any nation through forward linkages to the financial markets and backward linkages to land, building materials, furniture and labour markets. Nigeria is estimated as of 2015 to have a housing deficit of approximately 17 million and it is projected that about 59. 5 trillion Naira will be required to remedy the gap in this sector. Of all the challenges to the housing sector, limited access to finance stands as a major drawback requiring immediate intervention. The issue with finance can be traceable to underdevelopment in our mortgage industry as it reportedly generated less than 200,000 transactions between 1960 and 2014.
According to the World Bank Report (2015), the contribution of mortgage financing to Nigeria’s GDP is close to negligible, with real estate contributing less than 5% and mortgage loans and advances at 0.5% of GDP.
Following the Second World War there was an acute housing shortage and local authorities were encouraged to build as many houses as possible as quickly as possible. That was occurring because there was a lack of resale inventory as well as a lack of new construction inventory, which in turn was caused by a labour shortage, lack of housing lots and other kinds of higher construction costs.
There have been shortfall in housing deficit for a while now, but 2018 was the year where there was a really huge and noticeable effect on housing demand. Noticeably, the government accords relatively low priority to housing in their overall scheme of national development, and the volume of construction generally falls short of housing demands .
The approach to housing policy in Nigeria has tended to oscillate between the ‘welfare mixed economy’ and the ‘free market model’. The conventional wisdom today is that “government has no business building houses”, and that governments should focus on providing favourable investment climates, infrastructure and mortgage facilities to low-to-middle income families.
However, stronger arguments seem to justify state involvement in housing. Protagonists of this school often rationalise their stand on the premise that: housing is a necessity of life and a social right; it affects productivity (individual and national); bad housing can have negative physical and mental impact upon its occupants, and produce negative externalities on society. In addition, the workings of an unregulated competitive market cannot expect to produce outcomes which are entirely in accord with social needs and egalitarian political objectives. Hence, the government must help meet the needs of the poor, the under-privileged and those who cannot fend for themselves. The fundamental case for government intervention in housing is that market forces alone cannot ensure an adequate stock or a fair distribution of housing.
In 1961, the World Health Organisation stated that a good house should have the following items: A good roof to keep out the rain, good walls and doors to protect against bad weather and to keep out animals. Sunshades all around the house to protect it from direct sunlight in hot weather and wire nettings at windows and doors to keep out insects like house flies and mosquitoes. In essence, housing quality can be judged from the physical appearance of the buildings, facilities provided, quality of wall used in the building construction, eminence of the roofing materials, condition of other structural components of the house, and the environmental condition of the house.
Some of the problems attributable to the inadequacy of housing in terms of quality and quantity results in poor standard of the environment include of lack of amenities, poor maintenance, strained relationships between public housing residents and management, and chronic financial crisis have been mentioned as recurring themes of state-controlled, public housing.
Although housing is a universal need, its provision has assumed diverse approaches – in terms of policy instruments and institutions – in Nigeria and different parts of the world. Housing issues and policy problems are both global and inherently local-specific to a given time and place. One of the major responses to the housing challenge has been Public housing. It has taken varied forms in different geographical contexts and other descriptive terms are sometimes used in its place – such as social housing, state-housing, state-sponsored housing, welfare housing, non-profit housing, low-cost housing, affordable housing, and mass housing.
In this sense, the Nigerian Housing Policy was promulgated in 1991 in order to address housing problems. The programmes of action in the policy include construction technology, housing finance, land and infrastructure, building materials, labour management, housing allocation, monitoring and review. The big question – since the inception of this promulgation, has Nigeria’s Housing Policy address the role of government and lived to its billing?
According to Managing Director, Pentagon Real Estate Investment Ltd, Kennedy Okoruwa, ‘’ A most comprehensive housing policy should address the role of government which may vary from the planning and control of all aspects of housing production -land, investment, construction and occupancy -to intervention only at certain levels or when solutions are needed to specific problems involving such matters as land use plans and controls, credit and financial aids, subsidies to low income groups, rent control, slum clearance and re-location’’
Highlighting housing problems which are peculiar to both rich and poor nations, as well as developed and developing countries, Managing Director, Pazino Homes and Gardens, Patrick Agbaza said, ‘‘certain problems are associated with housing worldwide. They include shortage of housing (qualitatively and quantitatively), homelessness, government short-sightedness about the needs of the people, access to building land, house cost in relation to specification and space standard, as well as high interest rate of home loans. The reasons for shortage of housing in Nigeria include poverty, high rate of urbanization, high cost of building materials, as well as rudimentary technology of building.’’
Although the federal and some state government intervened by providing mass housing, only the rich and the privileged can afford it. The intervention of government include the formation of federal housing authority, the establishment of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, as well as the creation of the Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Environment. Nevertheless, in spite of government’s effort to tackle the housing problems, the Nigerian housing situation is still in crisis, and sustainable housing delivery has been seriously hampered.
In order to achieve sustainable housing delivery in Nigeria, numerous housing strategies, programmes and policies have emerged from colonial era to date. However, the United Nations declaration of ‘Housing for all by the year 2000’ geared up the formulation of the renowned Nigerian Housing Policy.
In essence, the declaration suggested that housing problem could be solved within the given time frame. Thus, in 1991, the National Housing Policy was promulgated in order to propose possible solutions to housing problems in Nigeria.
At the inception, the basic goal of the policy was to provide affordable housing to accommodate Nigerian households in liveable environment. Disgusting however, twenty eight years after the promulgation of the policy, and nineteen years after 2000, many Nigerians are still homeless while several others are living in indecent houses up to this time.
Housing problems abound in Nigeria both in rural areas and urban centres. The problem in the rural areas has to do with qualitative housing while the problems in the urban centre is quantitative in nature. Housing problems in the rural areas are connected with qualitative deficiencies like place, degree of goodness and the value of the house.
On the other hand, urban housing problems include homelessness slum dwelling, squatting and overcrowding. High rate of urbanization, ever-increasing population of urban dwellers in conjunction with the increasing social expectations of the people are all responsible for housing problems in Nigeria.
The problems of urbanization are inadequate housing, unplanned development, improper maintenance of existing structures, aging, absence of social infrastructure, waste management menace, crime, and health hazard. Additionally, the houses in the urban core areas are characterized by inadequate infrastructural facilities, poor ventilation, non-availability of in-built toilet and kitchen, as well as poor refuse disposal system. Other problems that are associated with urban housing are lack of effective planning, development of shanty towns, and availability of dilapidated houses.
Generally, housing in Nigeria is bombarded with problems like poverty, discrimination against the use of indigenous materials, ineffective housing finance, inadequate financial instrument for mobilization of funds, high cost of building materials shortage of infrastructural facilities, as well as the bureaucracies in land acquisition, processing of certificate of occupancy (C of O), and approval of building plans.
Other constraints to housing development, maintenance and delivery are lack of effective planning, ineffective government programmes and policies, uncontrolled private sector participation, weak institutional frameworks and poor research and development into housing.
It is instructive to note that housing is inextricably interrelated with broader issues of inflation, income policy, and perplexing range of difficult social and economic trends. All these challenges culminate in the ever-increasing demand that cannot be met by supply.
Appraising the national housing policy, vis-à-vis the Federal government’s resolve to address the housing deficit by delivering one million houses per year to close the 17 million shortfall by the year 2033.The Managing Director, Design Genre, Anthony Okoye said, ‘‘—–‘
Appraising Nigeria’s National Housing Delivery Policy, the policy provides the foundation upon which actions are based and addressed vital issues in housing provision like prototype designs, urban housing, rural housing, access to land, affordable housing cost, the use of local materials (with consideration for climate and culture), as well as the preference of the users. It empowered the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to provide loan for housing research, construction and delivery, the Nigerian Building and Research Institute was also empowered to make adequate research into housing construction and delivery in Nigeria. Also, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria was bestowed with the responsibility of ensuring the delivery of standard materials and buildings. Other organizations that were facilitated include the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and the Building Materials Producers Association of Nigeria (BUMPAN). These organisations seem deficient in their responsibilities as not much is seen or heard of them.
With the promulgation in December, 1989 of the Mortgage Institution Decree no 53 also providing a legal framework for the operations of primary mortgage institutions in Nigeria, not much has been seen of the involvement and participation of the government, non-governmental agencies and community-based organizations in housing production and delivery.
On the other hand, the efforts have not shown remarkable improvement in the status quo since many Nigerians are still homeless while up till this time, many are living in dingy and ramshackle structures. Another major criticism of the policy lies in the area of monitoring, evaluation and review. With the government’s pronouncement to build 17 million homes before 2023, would it be another episode of failed and veiled political promises or actions?
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